This past Sunday, we introduced a new song to us at Crestview: He Will Hold Me Fast. Here’s a lyric video:
Last week, I posted that I was at T4G 2016. Here’s a post in which I recap some highlights/reflections…
T4G is an amazing event in the circles I run in theologically. This year, over 10,000 pastors assembled in Louisville, KY to think about matters of eternal significance and to encourage one another. Here are some random reflections:
1) It’s about people — The content, which I’ll say more about in a second, is usually stellar. But, T4G is about people. There are lots of friends with whom I connect. Also, there are people who usually come from our local church. Getting unhurried time with them on the road and around this conference makes the experience for me. This time, in particular, we were happy to have friends from India with us. T4G is about coming together with others around these truths. That’s what always stands out to me about this experience.
2) There were some outstanding talks — I thought Mark Dever’s sermon was one of the best I’ve heard at T4G. Piper’s sermon gave an amazing picture of mankind and how we need a Savior. Platt’s usually on point and his sermon was the right call at the end of this conference for application. Resources will soon be up on the T4G website. I’ll let you weigh the content for yourself.
3) Books — You get many free resources at T4G and this year didn’t disappoint. Some I had already and I’ve passed them on to others. But, many of these works will have a lasting impact in my life.
4) Singing – Hearing 10,000 people sing is always something I remember. This year, the song He Will Hold Me Fast especially gripped me. We’ll probably be teaching this one soon.
I’m blessed to have a church that allows me to participate in things like this. I hope this helps you see what I appreciate about events like this.
This is happening now in Louisville, KY.
You can enjoy the livestream here.
I was privileged to attend Together for the Gospel last week in Louisville, KY (and even wrote an update after Day 1). If you don’t know, this is an every other year gathering of pastors in the evangelical stream. We come together from different denominations but are united by one message: the good news that sinners can be right with God because of Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life, died and rose again, reigning today from heaven. This year’s conference theme was taken from Romans 1:16 and how we should be unashamed in the Gospel. Here’s how the messages shook down:
Mark Dever: The Certain Victory of Christ’s Church an Encouragement to Evangelism
Thabiti Anyabwile: The Happiness of Heaven in the Repentance of Sinners
Al Mohler: The Open Door is the Only Door, the Singularity of the Gospel in a Pluralistic Age
Kevin DeYoung: Never Spoke A Man Like This Before: Innerancy, Evangelism and Christ’s Unbreakable Bible
David Platt: Relenting Wrath: The Role of Desperate Prayer in the Mystery of Divine Providence
Matt Chandler: Christ Is All
Ligon Duncan: The Gospel By Numbers
John MacArthur: Mass Defection: The Great Physician Confronts The Pathology of Counterfeit Faith
John Piper: Persuading, Pleading and Predestination: Human Means in the Miracle of Conversion
(All of these sermons are available for audio or video download, so enjoy!)
These men are my heroes. To a man, they have served faithfully and marked me through their service in the Word. So, when I get a chance to hear them live at one conference, it’s like the All-Star Game. But, God used these sermons in many ways to cement and solidify my heart in Gospel reality.
On top of this benefit, I was able to attend with brothers in Christ who love Christ and me. They asked hard questions, pressed for fellowship and provoked me to good deeds. We drive intentionally (12 hours) to have plenty of windshield time to dream, discuss and have unhurried time with one another.
So, I’m grateful for this opportunity. It was a great week. I’m still digging out from being gone, but found it to be a rich time.
I’m privileged to attend the 2014 Together For The Gospel conference. This is a conference I’ve attended since its inception in 2006, so this is my fifth time attending (it’s held every other year). This year, I’m attending with one of our elders, a friend our church supports in India and another friend in ministry from St. Louis.
We began our journey on Sunday and finally arrived late Monday. We grabbed supper with another couple our church supports to check in on their ministry. We took in a pre-conference called Band of Bloggers. This conference included some rock star bloggers from my neck of the evangelical world and discussed how platform building relates to the Gospel.
The afternoon session began with Mark Dever introducing the conference theme (Being Unashamed of the Gospel) and encouraging us through Isaiah 36-37, that God won’t abandon us in the amazing task of making His fame known to others. Thabiti Anyabwile continued our afternoon session by helping us see how heaven rejoices in the news of repenting sinners from Luke 15. Our evening session was Albert Mohler holding relentless to the exclusivity of Christ, specifically in Acts 4.
Some other highlights included seeing old friends. Gatherings like this assemble some of my best friends in ministry. So being able to connect with them and make new friends is a tremendous encouragement. The singing (7000 mostly MEN!) of songs old and new is always a highlight. One song that stuck out to me last night was All Creatures Of Our God and King. There were two new verses introduced for that song:
Having summarized T4G through Wednesday, here’s a summary of Thursday.
We got off on another strong start from Ligon Duncan and his sermon The Underestimated God: God’s Ruthless, Compassionate Grace In the Pursuit of His Own Glory and His Ministers’ Joy (audio/video). This exposition of 1 Kings 19 helped each attendee identify with Elijah, who wanted God to do amazing things for His glory, but wasn’t allowed to see those things at the moment he wanted them. This proved to be a great follow up to Platt’s message in helping us continue to trust our God.
In the afternoon, Matt Chandler walked us through Revelation 21 & 22 to see The Fulfillment of the Gospel (audio/video). Most people’s lives are wrapped up in the here and now, but this vision of where all of history is headed will sustain us through trials and help us see the aim of our work for the Gospel.
Finally, John Piper rounded out the conference by unfolding Jude 24-25 and how Glory, Majesty, Dominion and Authority Keep Us Safe For Everlasting Joy (audio/video). We ought to be stunned that we are Christians and Piper explained how God allows this to be so. It was one of the best sermons on the subject of perseverance that I’ve heard and was a great encouragement to see how God will get the glory for salvation by keeping us from the past, through the present and into the future.
This was an amazing conference. The sermons seemed to build on each other and continue to help me see a greater, deeper, richer and fuller picture of the Gospel. I would encourage you to take advantage of the free audio and video resources and allow your soul to be refreshed in the Underestimated Gospel.
Yesterday, I summarized my trip to Louisville and the happenings on Monday and Tuesday. In this post, I would like to summarize Wednesday, which was a full day.
Our day began with Thabiti Anyabwile asking Will Your Gospel Transform A Terrorist? (audio/video) This exposition of Paul’s letter to Timothy ended with the point on celebration for all that our powerful Gospel is able to accomplish.
Quickly after Thabiti’s sermon, Kevin DeYoung came and urged us to pursue holiness with Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort (audio/video). There’s lots of discussion these days as to how the Gospel relates to holiness or, as DeYoung said, how the good news produces good works. DeYoung answers calling on us to simply obey, which is not against the Gospel of grace.
After some afternoon breakout sessions, we had our final talk of Wednesday in the evening with David Platt speaking on Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions (audio/video). Many felt that this was the most memorable sermon on missions they had ever heard (including Lig Duncan and John Piper). It was certainly an amazing sermon from Revelation 5. There were moments where I stopped taking notes because of what was being said. God was certainly up to something through this. We can only hope that this kind of sermon will result in amazing application like we’ve never before seen so that all the nations worship at the Savior’s feet.
I’ll wrap up my summary of everything tomorrow…
As you may or may not know, last week was a slow week blogging because I was with 8000 some odd others at the 2012 Together for the Gospel Conference. I enjoyed an amazing week with some guys from Crestview. We left Easter Sunday and got in to St. Louis that night, then drove on into Louisville on Monday.
On Monday night, we attended the Dinner and Dialogue at Southern Seminary. The food was amazing and the dialogue included Josh Harris, Carl Trueman, Matt Pinson, Jeff Bethke and J.D. Greear, hosted by Russell D. Moore.
On Tuesday, before the conference began, I took in the Band of Bloggers meeting. This panel included Owen Strachan, Timmy Brister, Justin Taylor, Collin Hansen, and Tim Challies. These are the uber-bloggers of the Christian world. This panel included some great discussion as to how our tone should be on blogs and how we can be light to our world.
Finally, then, the conference began on Tuesday. The lineup was pretty amazing and I still almost have to pinch myself to think that I actually got to be a part of this.
C.J. Mahaney began with a talk on The Sustaining Power of the Gospel (audio/video). This message really opened the conference up by setting the tone and helping all present see how the Gospel is able to help us in the midst of our ministries, sustaining us to persevere through hard times.
Next up was Al Mohler, offering one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard from him on The Power of the Articulated Gospel (audio/video). This simple unfolding of Romans 10 helped all present know the importance of verbalizing the Gospel.
Finally on Tuesday, Mark Dever gave a warning on False Conversions: The Suicide of the Church (audio/video). There’s a fine line of tension drawn in raising this subject matter, but Dever was up to the challenge and helped me see how God can be honored through holding the line of His Word.
(I’ll summarize more tomorrow)…
I really enjoyed Shai Linne’s presentation of Triune Praise @ T4G. Here’s a video and the lyrics:
Praise God the Father, the Immortal Creator
For Your glory you made us, You’re the Sovereign Orchestrator
All that You decree will most surely come to happen
You’re awesome as can be and Your glory none can fathom
Nothing could ever stain You, the heavens can’t contain You
We thank You for sending Your Son to explain You
Otherwise we would have remained in the dark
but You sent Your Holy Spirit to spark a change in our hearts
According to Your eternal purpose and will
You determined to reveal Yourself to those who deserve to be killed
Those of us whom You foreknew adore You
We praise You that You predestined us to be conformed to
The image of Your Son who’s the radiance of Your glory
When I meditate on it, the weightiness of it floors me
So Father, we’ll praise you over and over again
Because You sent Your only Son to atone for our sins
Glory to the Father, Glory to the Son,
Glory to The Spirit- Three and Yet One
One in Your essence, Three in Your Person
The same in Your nature, distinct in Your working
Oh my soul- behold the wonder of the Trinity
Blessed be the Trinity, Oh, what a mystery!
I’ll stand amazed for the rest of my days
Pouring out my heart in Triune praise
Praise God the Son, Second Person of the Trinity
You’re distinct from the Father, yet you share in His divinity
Fulfilling an eternal covenant- You came through
To planet earth to save who? All the Father gave You
You became a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief
For the glory of Your Father You extinguished the beef
That stood between us at the cross- the Father’s anger released
The Shepherd slain for the sheep, the situation is deep
I can’t find the right language to speak, in fact it’s making me weep-
Just the thought of You saving this creep
You’re risen from the dead, I still can’t get this in my head,
How the Judge could leave the bench and go to prison instead
Lord Jesus, you’re amazing, Your bleeding is what saved men
It’s the reason why we’re praising, can’t wait to see Your face
In the meantime, please help us to see You as colossal
And by the Spirit live lives worthy of the gospel
Praise God the Holy Spirit, 3rd person of the Trinity
Distinct from Father and Son, yet share in Their divinity
Holy Spirit we praise You, You don’t like the spotlight
You’d rather point away from yourself and give props to Christ
But yet because You’re God, You deserve veneration
And You’re the One responsible for our regeneration
You apply the finished work of Christ to all the elect
Your call is effectual- You haven’t lost one yet
You comfort us when sin, Satan and the world got us bothered
And it’s only by You that we cry out “Abba Father”
You’re the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of Truth,
You graciously provide Your people with the gifts and the fruit
You help us kill sin and dis-attach us from our idols
If it wasn’t for You, we’d never understand the Bible
Because You wrote it- For our life it will surely suffice
Amazingly, You do it all for the glory of Christ!
While our group was coming home from T4G, we took advantage of Don Whitney’s 10 Questions to Ask to Benefit from a Conference or Special Event. I had printed this off before we left for the conference, anticipating a need to intentionally apply what we had learned. And, I found it helpful for sparking discussion on the way home. We discussed these questions for probably an hour or two and it gave everyone an opportunity to get down to the precise nature of what they were taking away and, better yet, helped establish some accountability in our group as we took the “next step” after the conference. I would commend it to you, not only if you attended T4G, but anytime you have a special event at your church.